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Marquand prepares to give royal welcome

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JOCKEY Tom Marquand has been asked to join a guard of honour for Her Majesty The Queen at Epsom Downs Racecourse as part of this weekend’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Marquand, who is based in Hungerford, has ridden 12 winners for the monarch and will be one of 40 current and retired riders dressed in the royal silks who will line the route Princess Anne, who is representing the Queen, will take as she arrives at Epsom Downs on Saturday – Cazoo Derby Day.

The 24-year-old is also set to ride in the Cazoo Derby itself at 4.30pm on Saturday after being handed the ride on Sonny Liston by Lambourn trainer Charlie Hills.

Tom Marquand in the royal silks at Newmarket
Tom Marquand in the royal silks at Newmarket

It’ll be just the third time in 70 years that Her Majesty won’t be in attendance at Epsom, but the Queen’s continued interest and involvement will spur the riders on.

Marquand’s wife, Hollie Doyle, is also set to ride at the festival – they’ll go head to head in the Cazoo Oaks on Friday.

Doyle is aboard second favourite Nashwa, who last appeared at Newbury Racecourse on May 14.

Marquand, who has ridden at the highest level in Britain and Australia, has been one of the Queen’s regular riders thanks to his association with trainer William Haggas, who saddles a number of the monarch’s racehorses.

Marquand can still remember his first-ever ride in the Queen’s famous silks.

Tom Marquand
Tom Marquand

He said: “It was big. I was obviously very lucky early on in my career to have a ride so quickly for the Queen.

“You grow up watching racing and the Queen’s colours are the ones you look out for and to have that special first ride is a real milestone achievement.

“It was fantastic putting those silks on for the first time and you make sure you get a picture – that’s still up on the wall in the house!

“It’s a pleasure and an honour and all you can hope for is that you’ll ride a winner.

“It took me a few goes but thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long.”

“I think it certainly gives you the will to win, like riding for any high profile owner, but it just has that extra special touch in the fact that no matter where it is, it’s said that she’ll be watching and it’s an amazing thing that her interest and love for racing is such a driving force for her because she’s still involved in it while having a pretty busy life.”

Marquand explained how Her Majesty has enjoyed a number of visits to see her horses in their stables.

He said: “I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve ridden for her at Royal Ascot when she’s been there and in the earlier days at Richard Hannon’s she would come in and do the yard tour and I was lucky enough to sit down and have a cup of tea with her and talk about horses.

“Her knowledge is incredible and that comes from a lifetime of passion for horseracing and breeding.

"It’s pretty evident within a few seconds of talking to her about horses that it’s you that’s having a lesson about horses and not her!

“She would come in like any other owner and jump in the car with Richard Hannon Snr and drive about looking at horses and talking about horses.

"I think that’s what is so admirable about the amount she has put into racing – it comes from a pure passion for it and you can tell that as soon as she’s looking at horses and talking about horses because there is that knowledge that is born from a passion, not just a little bit of interest.”

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